Outdoor Toilets on Bunker Hill?

There is a lot of misinformation about the old Bunker Hill. For instance, I have heard it said that there were outdoor toilets on Bunker Hill before it was redeveloped in the 1960’s. I lived on Bunker Hill in the 1940’s – 1960’s, and I’d like to set the record straight. I never saw any outdoor toilets, and to my knowledge, there were none. I think this misinformation may stem in some measure from this photo from the LAPL photo collection. It was taken in 1967 during the time when the buildings on Bunker Hill were being torn down. In the foreground is a toilet identified in the information accompanying the photo as an “outhouse.” Looming behind it is the Union Bank building. I have firsthand knowledge of this toilet because I used it many times. It was not an “outhouse.” It did not sit over an open hole in the ground. Instead, as the photo shows, it was a modern flush toilet attached to a sewer line. It does appear to be outdoors, but it is only “outdoors” because the building to which it was attached has been torn down. That building was the former carriage house behind the Victorian house known as the Castle which my family owned. The carriage house had been turned into two apartments many years before. I can only speculate as to why this toilet remained after the adjacent and neighboring buildings were torn down and taken away. Maybe it was kept so that the demolition workers could use it until the work was completed, thereby saving the foreman the hassle and cost of renting another port-a-potty.
Toilet Behind Castle Carriage House

mm

Author: Gordon Pattison

Gordon Pattison is a native son of Bunker Hill. His family owned the Salt Box and the Castle, the last two homes standing after the neighborhood was cleared for redevelopment. To learn more, see Gordon's LAVA Sunday Salon presentation Old Bunker Hill: One Family's Perspective. Gordon can also be found talking about Angels Flight Railway on Off-Ramp, visiting the few remaining pieces of his family's houses at Heritage Square Museum, on KCET's Lost L.A. series Lost Hills episode, L.A. As Subject's funicular feature and remembering novelist John Fante at his square dedication and atop Bunker Hill. He can also be found on Esotouric's The Lowdown on Downtown tours, sharing memories of lost Bunker Hill.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *